University Park, PA (Sports Network) - Matt McGloin's 5-yard touchdown run was the go-ahead score late in regulation, as Penn State rallied from an 11-point fourth-quarter deficit to upend No. 24 Northwestern, 39-28, in front of a delirious crowd of 95,769 at Beaver Stadium.
"That was a scramble all the way. He did a nice job on that," said Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien. "I'm going to tell him we're timing his 40 with a sun dial. He did a nice job. He's got a knack for that. He's just the one that tells me every week that we need the quarterback draw."
McGloin finished with 282 yards passing on 35-of-51 efficiency and a pair of scores through the air for the Nittany Lions (4-2, 2-0 Big Ten), who won their fourth straight game.
Allen Robinson and Michael Zordich added touchdowns in a 22-point final stanza for Penn State, which has won six in a row over its suburban Chicago foes. Zach Zwinak led all rushers with 121 yards and a TD on 28 carries.
Trevor Siemian was 21-of-36 for 135 yards and one TD for the Wildcats (5-1, 1-1), who failed in their bid to start 6-0 for the first time in 50 years.
Venric Mark totaled 72 yards and a score on 13 carries and contributed a 75- yard punt return for a touchdown, which put Northwestern up 28-17. Kain Colter picked up a score on the ground in defeat.
"I think we beat ourselves today," Colter said. "We did not make plays when we were able to and it was a tough game. I think we could have played a lot better on offense."
McGloin found Robinson in the back of the end zone for a 6-yard TD early in the fourth quarter to complete an 82-yard, 18-play drive. Zordich added a conversion run and Penn State closed its gap to 28-25 with 9:49 remaining.
With the ball again, the hosts converted a 4th-and-2 from the 19-yard line as McGloin connected with Brandon Moseby-Felder, setting them up in a 1st-and- goal from the six. Three plays later, McGloin dove for the near pylon for the deciding score with 2:37 left to make it 32-28.
After two incompletions and a rush for eight yards, Siemian fired incomplete on 4th-and-7 from his own 28, and Penn State took over on downs. Three plays in, Zordich crawled across the goal line from the three and it was 39-28.
One final Northwestern drive was ended when Da'Quan Davis recovered a Tony Jones fumble. McGloin took a knee and ran off the remaining seconds.
"I did sense a little for a few seconds there after the punt return. My staff and myself talked to the players and tried to get them going," said O'Brien. "We knew at that time there were 50 seconds left in the third quarter and the whole fourth quarter to go. We felt like we could move the ball. It's Big Ten football, we need to come back. We tried to get our players going."
PSU picked up three points on its second possession of the game, as Sam Ficken connected from 21 yards away.
The Nittany Lions' second full drive of the second quarter proved fruitful, as Zwinak completed a 40-yard march on the eighth play with a 1-yard plunge.
Northwestern finally answered on the ensuing possession, as Mark rolled into the end zone from the right side for a 2-yard score. The drive was set up by a muffed punt, which gave the Wildcats the ball on the host's 17.
The visitors plunged ahead with an 11-yard connection from Siemian to Jones with under a minute to play in the first half.
Penn State used an 80-yard drive to take the lead just after the midway point of the third quarter, as McGloin found Robinson from eight yards out.
But the Wildcats responded on the ensuing series, taking a 21-17 edge when Colter dove across the goal line to punctuate a 10-yard scamper. After holding PSU to a three-and-out, Mark took the ensuing punt 75 yards down the left sideline for a 28-17 contest.
PSU has won 13 of the 16 all-time meetings and has not lost to Northwestern since a 14-7 home loss on Nov. 6, 2004 ... Robinson finished with 85 yards and two receiving touchdowns on nine catches, while Zwinak added 52 yards on six grabs ... Northwestern's 6-0 start in 1962 also marked the last time the program was ranked No. 1 in the country ... Penn State racked up 30 first downs and held the Wildcats to 14 ... The Nits also converted on 10 of their 22 third downs.
10/06 20:22:21 ET